S. Korea bank to shut some branches due to strike

11th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Standard Chartered bank's South Korean unit said Monday it would temporarily shut dozens of offices due to a strike by workers protesting at attempts to adopt a performance-based pay system.

SC First Bank said in a statement it would close 43 of its 392 branches, mostly in the capital Seoul, until the strike that began two weeks ago comes to an end.

The bank said employees who have not joined the strike would otherwise face an excessive workload. It said it would continue negotiations with the labour union.

Online banking and automatic teller machines at closed branches will operate normally and the bank will offer taxi fares for customers turned away at closed branches so they can visit another office.

More than 2,500 unionised workers of the bank which has some 6,500 staff in total have been on strike since June 27.

Its union said the management refused to negotiate annual pay rises unless employees agree to the new wage system instead of the seniority-based compensation prevalent among South Korean firms.

"So far, we have failed to narrow differences with the management, which had insisted that we agree to the new pay system no matter what in order to discuss pay rises," union leader Kim Jae-Yul told AFP.

SC First Bank was established in 2005 after the Asia-focused British-based banking group acquired Korea First Bank. It is the first bank in South Korea officially to push a performance-based pay system.

South Korean firms trying to dump seniority-based compensation have often faced intense opposition from workers who worry that a change would make job cuts easier.

© 2011 AFP

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